Top tips to be a successful SME
We have developed some top tips that we believe are essential to be a successful SME. There are 12 tips plus a bonus tip for you to consider:
Bonus Tip # – Have a goodwill focus
Creating goodwill can be difficult to achieve, hard to measure and takes time. It is often based on perception and trust, but can be very rewarding for your business. Perhaps do something unexpected for your customer, add more value than you charge, be open and transparent and make sure your customer service is above the rest (before-, during-, and post- purchase) – Treat people right and they will treat your brand right.
Tip #1 – Remain positive
There will always be tough times in the ebb and flow of business, but don’t let negativity get the better of you. You will probably need to develop a thick skin to deal with those trough periods. So, work on turning a negative into a positive by accepting what it is, then deal with it in a constructive way – take a deep breath – and move on.
Tip #2 – Do some good
Recognise the impact that you have, as a business, on the world around you. Be aware of your environment and look at ways that you can work with your communities to make societal improvements. A well thought-out CSR (corporate social responsibility) programme will have a positive impact on your brand, your people, your customers and your community.
Tip #3 – Be social
Being active on social media is a great way to connect, interact and engage with all your stakeholders on a large scale (reach), whether they be existing or prospective clients, strategic partners, influencers in your industry, potential recruits or advocates/supporters of your business. If you want people to like, comment and share on your posts then you should be doing the same for others. Be selective in the social media channels you use, as it is better to manage one or two channels well than multiple channels poorly and infrequently. Make sure your social activity has specific objectives, whether it be brand promotion, driving traffic to your website, making new connections, or thought leadership recognition.
Tip #4 – Continuously Improve
No business is perfect, there will always be ways in which you can do things better. Weigh up the costs and benefits of improvements and only proceed with those things that will add value to your business.
Tip #5 – Be prepared to break the rules
Take opportunities wherever they may arise even if it means doing things in a different way and moving out of your comfort zone. If it doesn’t work out then just make sure you learn from it and move forward. If it does work, then you have given yourself another avenue to grow and be successful.
Tip #6 – Build lasting relationships
Creating, nurturing and maintaining business relationships that last will help to sustain your business over the long term. Different relationships types will have different needs so make sure you interact in the right way to the right people at the right time. A large percentage of CPC’s business comes from its existing relationships – it’s a very cost effective way of winning new work.
Tip #7 – Know where you are and where you want to be
Take a critical look at your business today so that you have a clear understanding of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, where you want to be and what success looks like for you. Use that knowledge to be action oriented to achieve your goals. Make sure your vision is shared with your people and made clear to your customers .
Tip #8 – Keep an eye on the cash
Good forecasting, financial planning, debtor/creditor management and cost control is crucial to riding the tides of everyday business. Smaller changes can have bigger impacts for SMEs, so close monitoring and management of finances will provide you with greater stability and sustainability to succeed. It’s worth investing in good finance systems to help you achieve this.
Tip #9 – Nurture your people
Bringing in the right people is only half of the battle, you have to make sure that you are providing an environment that makes them want to stay. Treat your employees with the same respect as you treat your customers, nurture and develop them to achieve their goals, be flexible and fair, and listen to what they have to say.
Tip #10 – Get the right team
Our people are our biggest asset. Having a diverse workforce with the right skills and experience is not enough for us. We need people that have a passion for what they do, those that are driven to deliver and innovate and lead projects to a successful conclusion. The combination of role specific skills and personal behaviours is at the heart of our core values. These values are embedded into our company culture, giving peace of mind to our clients as well as ourselves.
Tip #11 – Understand your customer
Know what your clients want by asking them. Don’t rely on hunches or feelings on what you think they want. And keep asking them, as the only constant in any market is change. Use your size to your advantage to be more agile and act quicker than your competition.
Top Tip #12 – Find your niche
As an SME, you are most likely to be operating in an environment where there is stiff competition from a handful of large, often multi-national, organisations that have the resources to offer a wide range of services in your industry. You can’t compete at every level, so find your niche, know your purpose and excel in that. At CPC, we specialise in programme and project management consultancy services, but across a wide range of sectors.
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